On parts of An Act Of Love, this sound proves frustrating. The album was influenced by urban spaces after dark, and there is a sense of distance to it, as if we're observing intimacy from outside a living room window. The heavy textures can feel oppressive, and the mood—tranquility with a solemn ground hum—unwelcoming. Even the album's most dynamic track, "The Flats, 1975," doesn't stay that way for long—through trudging repetition, its techno pulse slowly leaks energy into the glimmering ambience around it.
Long's drum programming in general lacks finesse. It has neither the rhythmic spark to make bodies move, nor the sculpted precision for a mind-expanding armchair experience. Sometimes this isn't a problem—the gorgeous "Exuberant Burning," for instance, hits an emotive sweet spot with its delicate hi-hat patterns and vague swirls of melody. But the music's weathered charm is more obvious when Long ditches percussion altogether, focussing on serene minor-key loops of smeared pads and distant hiss. "The Present Mist" and "Also An Act Of Love," which bookend the album, give the impression of putting your ear to the ground to listen in on geological processes: stately, mysterious, incomprehensibly slow. This is the level on which An Act Of Love succeeds—as a hint of things not quite grasped, tantalising shapes moving beneath its earthy surfaces.